Newcastle stun wannabe Invincibles Chelsea in tense encounter
Chelsea gained double the amount of possession, shots and passes than Newcastle United in their Premier League encounter at St James’ Park, but it was the hosts who snatched all three points, getting twice as many goals with a 2-1 scoreline.
That defeat shattered the Blues’ dream of matching Arsenal’s 2003/04 Invincibles season, and also allows other clubs to catch up on Jose Mourinho’s men, who are still six points ahead of second-placed Manchester City, but with a game in hand.
In what was one-way traffic in Chelsea’s favour particularly in the first half, although they didn’t really manage to test stand-in Toon keepers Rob Elliot and his half-time injury replacement Jak Alnwick, substitute Papiss Cisse came up with both goals. The victory helps Newcastle to their six win in their last eight league matches, and pits them up into seventh before the rest of the weekend fixtures.
Chelsea were unbeaten in their 14 Premier League games prior to this encounter, and they will have felt very hard done by not to get something on their travels to the northeast. Especially with Magpies defender Steven Taylor getting sent off after a double booking with around 10 minutes to go.
Cisse had already scored twice by then, but legendary Blues striker Didier Drogba got a goal back from the resulting free-kick in the 83rd minute. However, Newcastle held on even when six minutes of extra time was given, with some heroic defending led by captain Fabricio Coloccini and a save by Alnwick from Diego Costa.
Mourinho has still never won at St James’ Park, but can take heart from his side’s run of form and remarkable squad depth and ability. They now face a relatively straight-forward run in the league up until Boxing Day, with Hull City, Stoke City and West Ham United their next challengers.
Newcastle, on the other hand, face more daunting tests away to Arsenal next next, followed by a derby battle with Sunderland and then a trip to the ever-improving Manchester United.